Plan International USA is partnering with the Beck Family Foundation on a new project in Cambodia that uses the power of technology and works with youth to build sustainable solutions for maintaining water pumps.
The project will launch just in time for World Water Day on March 22.
The concept behind the project derives from an age-old problem: when a water pump breaks or malfunctions, it often takes a long time to fix, if it is fixed at all. In such cases, communities with water pumps installed in their villages often revert back to old habits. Women and girls are forced to walk miles to retrieve water, and the water they retrieve is often unsanitary. This results in less girls in school, more disease, and a continued cycle of poverty.
Using cell phone technology, this project would place SIM cards in hand-pumps. The cards would notify local actors and authorities when a hand pump breaks, allowing them to work quickly. The project will also address the problem of youth unemployment in Cambodia, as it will train unemployed youth in the area to respond and fix the problems.
The Beck Family Foundation has previously partnered with Plan on a water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) project in Togo. That project helped increase access to safe WASH facilities, build local capacity to manage WASH programs and facilities, and promoted good hygiene practices.